- Oct 2017
virtue & order
It is ironic that two of the main values the authors wanted to instill in UVA students were "virtue and order." Early UVA students certainly were not virtuous. They drank and gambled constantly. Prostitution was rampant. They often engaged in physical fights and duels over the pettiest matters. Nor did they value order. They were known to assemble late at night on the lawn to shoot their guns, bang on drums, set off fireworks and sing dirty songs. This lack of order and virtue came to an apex when a rioting student killed a professor outside of Pavilion X. Information on these early students can be found in the book Rot, Riot and Rebellion by Rex Bowman and Carlos Santos, which I've been reading for my COLA. These instances show that while Jefferson's vision for his university was revolutionary, it was also very idealistic. What we see in this text does not always reflect what ultimately came to be.
healthiness & fertility. It was the degree of centrality to the white population of the state which alone then constituted
According to this line, the only important characteristics of a piece of land are "healthiness & fertility" and "degree of centrality to the white population." This portion of the text provides important insight into the ethical lens of Jefferson and his peers: something is only worth consideration if it bolsters health, agriculture or white males. The authors presented their guidelines for land consideration as clear-cut, failing to mention the fact that Jefferson was especially inclined towards Charlottesville because of its proximity to Monticello. While the text operates under the assumption that health, fertility, and convenience for white people were the only important considerations (which is a skewed set of principles in the first place), Jefferson's personal bias was a major, albeit hidden, factor as well.